Artist Interview: Dominique Cameron

I'm a curious type; I like to know what informs an artist. Who or what do they look to for inspiration? How do they work? Each month I will be asking an artist I admire a few questions, this month is Dominique Cameron.

The Wood by Dominique Cameron

The Wood by Dominique Cameron

Dominique, landscape is at the centre of your practice, what is it about landscape that you find so inspirational?

Landscape and walking have always played an important part in my life, from an early age I would walk the countryside with my family and my practice has developed from those earliest times. I have always had the desire to know where it is I live and having moved house many times there has always been this sense of wanting to map any new environment coupled with a curiosity of what lies beyond the door.

I'm particularly taken with the series of work that you did inspired by 'The Wood', how do you decide which type of landscape or place to focus all of your attention on for a project?

I am interested in all forms and variations of landscape, so the projects I undertake will be different each time. For instance after a project in Leith, Edinburgh I wanted to find an equivalent for the complicated, chaotic nature of urban streets. I decided on a piece of woodland not far from home which was overgrown and secluded, very visually complicated but quiet. Currently I am working on a farm which sits atop a hillside looking out over the Firth of Forth – at that point I was needing to be in the open, with far reaching views as a counter to the wood. So one project leads to another…

The Wood by Dominique Cameron

The Wood by Dominique Cameron

The Wood by Dominique Cameron

The Wood by Dominique Cameron

You use colour very vividly in some work and stick to black and white in others, is there any reasoning behind this?

My use of colour is dependent on many factors. The large woods paintings were monochrome out of a desire to see the woods pared back. I felt that I could articulate better the space by just using black and white. However it wasn’t simply black paint – there were at least four different kinds of black used. Using colour would have made the immediacy of response more difficult. However the smaller works in oil reflected the sensuousness and richness of the plant life. So in short it does depend on the subject matter.

What are the materials that you work with and is experimentation important to you?

I work with many kinds of materials from oil, acrylic, charcoal, ink, through to watercolour and gouache. I do like experimenting with their differences and at times in the studio I will often use what’s at hand, and can often be surprised by the result. I am currently interested in the juxtaposition of drawing and painting so will often use both in works, and believe there are no rules in mark making, but play is an integral part of any practice.

Leith by Dominique Cameron

Leith by Dominique Cameron

Leith by Dominique Cameron

Leith by Dominique Cameron

Can you outline the process of making a piece of work from start to finish?

The question of process changes with environment, materials and support. Yet the one constant is the use of gesso. I prime every surface I work on whether that be canvas, wood, panel or paper. I like the ground of gesso that gives a slight tooth and makes the support more durable. I will then go in and out of drawing and painting, building as I go until I either think its time for a cup of tea – and therefore the need to walk away. I will return to sneak up on the work, catching it by surprise almost. I immediately will know where I’ve gone wrong, what needs to be changed, and be startled by my previous decision making – it is almost as if I have not encountered the work before, it feels so new.

Tell me about your studio or creative space.

My studio is a room at one end of the house. It’s the only room that has not had any work done to it. There are doors that open out to the garden and I have a view of the sea. It’s very messy, dirty and piled high with all manner of things. Every now and then I have a clean up as I find I no longer have space. It is not very large but it’s fantastic to have the space close by. If I choose I know I can work in the middle of the night.

The Farm by Dominique Cameron

The Farm by Dominique Cameron

The Farm by Dominique Cameron

The Farm by Dominique Cameron

What artists (living or dead) inspire you?

I take inspiration from many sources, not only painters, and this list can and does change, but the artists that have remained with me would include the painters Ivon Hitchens, Joan Eardley, Cy Twombly, John Virtue and writers Virginia Woolf, Kathleen Jamie, Alice Oswald, and the filmmaker Margaret Tait.

I love learning random facts about people, tell me three things about yourself.

Three things about myself – this has proved the most difficult question. Umm…. I like to dance when I work in my studio. I used to be a fire fighter and I do like clothing with roomy pockets - for all my collections of things.

Finally, where can people follow your work online?

You can follow me on twitter - @bourbonandwolfe, and on my website – dominiquecameron.com.

Thank you to Dominique for agreeing to be part of my artist interview series. I first found Dominique on Twitter and was immediately attracted to her black and white depictions of woodland, for obvious reasons if you know me and my own work at all. I’d love a studio like hers, with doors that open on to a garden and a sea view to boot, it sounds like the absolute dream. Remember to take a look at Dominique’s website where you can find many more examples of her work on the portfolio page.

Dominique’s interview marks the end of my artist interview series, at least for now. Thank you to all of the artists that have taken part this year and to all those that have read the interviews too, I hope you have gained as much from it as I have.

If you enjoyed reading then please click the heart at the bottom, share or better still leave me a comment, I love reading them. ❤️

Artist Interview: Tom Gowen

I'm a curious type; I like to know what informs an artist. Who or what do they look to for inspiration? How do they work? Each month I will be asking an artist I admire a few questions, this month is Tom Gowen.

Bike Near A Tatty Door by Tom Gowen

Bike Near A Tatty Door by Tom Gowen

Tom, we studied Fine Art together at the University of Gloucestershire. I can't believe that we are approaching 8 years since our graduation! What type of work were you doing at university and how has your practice developed in the 8 years since?  

Most of my student life was mostly spent glued to a sketchbook, travelling to different locations, research and utilising large areas of the studio in order to create and experiment with ideas on a broader scale. I developed a strong interest in landscape and architecture which has since carried through to much of my later work and it was a great opportunity for me to explore and develop my practise further using various mediums in order to establish a technique that suited my artistic ability.

Your oil paintings are made using predominantly palette knife, what is it about painting with palette knife that you enjoy so much?  

Using a palette knife gives me quick results with good colour saturation and allows me to create a more expressive, immediate effect in my work. I love using texture which is why palette knife painting became a bit of an obsession, it is such a versatile tool that is not only useful for mixing colours but can be used to apply thick layers of paint directly onto the canvas.

Cliffs Near Moylgrove by Tom Gowen

Cliffs Near Moylgrove by Tom Gowen

Trevose Head Lighthouse by Tom Gowen

Trevose Head Lighthouse by Tom Gowen

Your subjects include harbour villages in Cornwall, rolling countryside hills, lighthouses and rugged coastal scenes as well as picturesque towns in Europe. How do you decide on a subject?  

I just paint what appeals to me I suppose. I would usually begin with a preliminary sketch often on site in order to help me decide on a suitable composition. Lighthouses have always been a favourite subject area, as have seaside towns, rugged coastline most notably Italy, Cornwall and Pembrokeshire and rural areas such as the Cotswolds!

Rosina’s by Tom Gowen  

Rosina’s by Tom Gowen  

What is the process of a painting from start to finish?  

I normally plan my work in stages so firstly would begin with a basic background wash and with oil paint to roughly map out the composition using relatively thick brushstrokes. I would then start to mix together thicker colours for covering large areas of the canvas in order to suggest background detail such as the sky and land. Once I’m happy with that I would then apply it directly over the top and spread evenly until it is completely flat and just keep adding more detail with a smaller palette knife.

What advice would you give to an artist graduating from university?

I remember wondering what style to adopt as a painter and I realised quite quickly that style needed to find me through practice and developing my painting technique on a personal level! Although it was an overwhelming experience I knew that graduating meant deciding what I wanted more than anything was to continue painting so setting up a website and promoting my work on social media is an essential starting point.

 

Scooter in a Street by Tom Gowen

Scooter in a Street by Tom Gowen

Portofino by Tom Gowen

Portofino by Tom Gowen

Tell me about your studio or creative space.

I currently occupy a room in my house as a studio space but would ideally like to have a proper purpose built studio with heating and more space to store my artwork. The fact that I’m based in the countryside means I don’t have far to go to look for inspiration and I like to work outdoors when it’s sunny!

What artists (living or dead) inspire you?

I‘m strongly influenced by the work Turner for his use of light and colour and gestured brushwork particularly in ‘The Fighting Temeraire’ (1839) and his more dramatic subjects such as the ‘Snow Storm – Steamboat off a Harbour’s Mouth’ (1842) as well as other pieces some of which featured in an exhibition held at the Greenwich Maritime Museum in 2014 where I went to see lots of his work including sketches. Cezanne is a particular favourite of mine for his use of strong colour as well as some of the more contemporary painters such as Robin Mason, Alice Hole and Kurt Jackson.

Craggy Rock at Trefin by Tom Gowen

Craggy Rock at Trefin by Tom Gowen

I love learning random facts about people, tell me three things about yourself.

I have beautiful flat coated retriever called Benbow who I walk every day and I’m a bit of a coffee lover. I love to cycle, draw and I often go for morning runs before I start each day.

Finally, where can people follow your work online?

I have a page on Facebook, an instagram and twitter account and a shop on Etsy where I sell many of my paintings large and small and a website.

Thank you to Tom for agreeing to be part of my interview series, it's been lovely featuring someone who I studied with. Tom is heavily involved with Handmade Hour and Just A Card Hour on Twitter, you can follow him there for a chat. Please do take a look at his Etsy shop as well as his oil paintings really are stunning.

If you'd like to take part in my artist interviews series then please do get in touch at claireleanneleach@gmail.com. 

If you enjoyed reading then please click the heart at the bottom, share or better still leave me a comment, I love reading them. ❤️

Drawing on Bodmin

Over Easter weekend I visited my dad in Cornwall. I took a little bottle of Indian ink and a few brushes and was excited at the opportunity of doing some drawing 'en plein air' on Bodmin Moor. 

Drawing In The Wild

Drawing In The Wild

I found a quiet and secluded spot, sheltered from the elements with a view of a beautiful windswept tree. I could hear just the birds and the wind and watched as the clouds rolled on by, some full of rain and hail, others fluffy and cartoon like. 

Outdoor Studio

Outdoor Studio

I lay down my little green mat that I take on our walks and took out my materials, including an old glass salsa jar I've repurposed as a water container. I made a few marks in my A6 postcard pad, the tree in front of me and some quick marks to suggest the rocks and stone wall. 

Postcard Sketch

Postcard Sketch

After, I clumsily gathered my materials, juggling an ink pot and water container to another spot with a view of three trees. 

Three Little Trees

Three Little Trees

I took out my larger pad and started with some broad but faded marks before attempting the trees, I managed two before hearing my phone ring, my dad, other half and brother had finished exploring the nearby quarry I'd sent them to and were impatient for lunch, I quickly started on the third tree before my dad appeared. I asked him to take a few photos of me drawing before I packed my things away. 

Bodmin Impression  

Bodmin Impression  

I could have easily stayed all day, though the weather wouldn't have allowed it. The beautiful peace and tranquility that comes from being creative in the wild, drawing directly from nature cannot be bettered.